It’s another early start for our first day of experiencing
Haida culture. We have two stops planned at Haida historic sites.
In less than two hours we were constructing an all-boat raft in the anchorage at Tanu. Despite the rules that say they only take 12 guests at a time, the watchmen were very gracious and took all 16 of us at once. To keep our impact to a minimum, Jordan from Deception ferried us all to shore in their dinghy.
The watchmen were Sean and Helen, and they were both super hosts. Both were very knowledgeable and eager to share. It was a long walk through the wooded areas on a path lined with seashells. The shells let everyone know where to walk so we did not intrude on the sites themselves. We saw the remains of the Haida village with the roof beams on the longhouses about the only recognizable structure. We enjoyed seeing the remaining poles in the village. Everything is covered in moss and Mother Nature reclaims that which the Haida built. It is part of the Haida culture to allow all this to decay and return to the earth.
We learned that the Haida were fierce fighters and explorers as remains of their canoes have been found as far south as California. A healthy diet with plenty of protein, from both land and sea, led to big men who were often 6 feet tall. Apparently they towered over their adversaries. They did raid other tribes for women and children to expand the gene pool beyond the two Haida clans: the Eagle and the Raven. It is so sad that the European explorers brought disease, smallpox and measles that almost eradicated the Haida nation.
The tour was great and we also got to see the watchman’s cabin and some of the old pictures they have of the settlement in its heyday in the late 1800s. It was sunny and the anchorage was very calm.
We then set out for Windy Bay and as we neared we could see how the Bay earned it name: it was very windy and the seas were churned up. To our surprise, Capt. Rich decided to raft all the boats together again. As we approached, we could see the bottom paint of the other boats below the boot stripes.
Every fender was put into play between us and Change of Latitude. I spent an extra 15 minutes trying to find the optimum placement of the fenders so they would provide the most protection for both boats. Again, Jordan ferried all the crews to the shore and he and Capt. Rich remained on the raft to tend to the fenders and keep anchor watch.
The watchman couple, Frank & Denise, greeted us. This site is very different, with less to see. There is a “modern” longhouse; the Blinking Eye meetinghouse that was that was built in the mid-80s for meetings of those who protested logging on island. Now it is a nice shelter for kayakers. Frank told us they got far fewer visitors than Tanu; 300 so far this year versus Tanu’s 1000 visitors. That is due to the site itself being less easy to access and the fact, in my opinion, that there is less history to see.
However, we took a marvelous 45 minute walk through the forest and saw the largest spruce tree in North America. It is over 900 years old. We emerged at the Creek and Frank was there to ferry us over to the other sides so we did not have to backtrack along the path.
Meanwhile, back at the boat raft, things were turning into a bit of a disaster and Capt. Rich wanted us all back on the boats ASAP. Jordan ferried us out to Alaskan Dream. Earlier, he untied her from the raft and re-anchored her away from the raft, as the raft was moving up, down and sideways in the wind and swell. Moving her prevented damage. The interior was tossed about but nothing was misplaced other than a lot of our spices! We raised the anchor from the inside helm because it was too dangerous to be on the bow. In a couple of minutes we were underway
Our destination was Beresford Inlet that has a mile-long drying bar to navigate. We throttled back to time our arrival near high tide. Being first off, we led the way, with Change of Latitude on our stern. After we set the anchor we invited Dream Catcher alongside for drinks and appetizers aboard Alaska Dream. Jordan joined us for a while to relax and enjoy a drink after a crazy day.
Unlike Windy Bay, Beresford Inlet was calm and quiet.